Tomorrow Setién will visit the Benito Villamarín to face his former club. He took Betis to the 6th and 10th positions in the 17/18 and 18/19 seasons, respectively, and with undoubtedly one of the best football in Europe. However, his relation with the fans wasn’t optimal, as they thought that with another style they would obtain better results – still, Quique did not have a proper striker. Funnily enough, now that Rubi is the coach, and the likes of Fekir and Borja Iglesias arrived in the summer, results have been worse than with Setién.
Rubi’s idea may not be as extreme as the one of his predecessor, but he still prioritises possession. The problem is that errors and inconsistency have led to them not grabbing consecutive 3 points regularly. Their best game this season arguably was the 3–0 against Real Sociedad in January. An exhibition at home against one of the revelations in Spain.
Betis have many exquisite creative midfielders or mediapuntas. Canales, Aleñá, Fekir, Guardado…They create superiorities through the middle to then free the flanks for the depth and 1v1s of Joaquín (and Álex Moreno) on the left and Emerson on the right. With Fekir acting as a false RW, Emerson has the entire flank for himself and, with 3 goals and 5 assists, no full-back has contributed to more goals than him in the 19/20 La Liga.
Betis tend to use a 4–1–4–1 or 4–3–3, and tomorrow the main unknown is whether Borja Iglesias or Loren will start. Guido Rodríguez was signed as a DM in the winter but, with him not in top physical form, youngster Edgar could be in the XI instead. With Guardado injured, Aleñá may be starting. Betis’ possible line-up to host Barça:
Emerson · Mandi · Bartra · Álex Moreno
Canales · Edgar · Aleñá
Fekir · Borja Iglesias · Joaquín
P L A Y E R T O W A T C H
Carles Aleñá /
Obviously he’s not Betis most important player yet, but I had to choose him. Aleñá often acts as the left interior, and has more freedom to receive between the lines than Canales, who drops deeper to support Edgar. Aleñá is key to increasing the speed and fluidity of the ball circulation. How I wish we had him now.